February 17, 2013
Valentine’s outing focuses on giving back – The Chronicle
“This is something that we felt was just the right thing to do”
The day before, the group, led by Royzetta Cokley, spent hours filling brightly-colored gift bags with sticks of deodorant, tubes of toothpaste, bars of soap and other toiletries. They distributed the bags – pre-Valentine’s Day gifts – to those they deemed most in need of the items and a bit of Christian love.
“This is something that we felt was just the right thing to do,” Cokley said after she and more than a dozen of her fellow Greater Cleveland members passed out bags at the Bethesda Center for the Homeless. Sunday’s distribution schedule also included stops at a local senior citizens’ home, Samaritan Ministries and the Central Library, which has become a hub for many of the city’s homeless.
Cokley’s inspiration for the effort came last Thanksgiving when she volunteered to help feed those in need. Although she enjoyed lending a helping hand, it bothered her to know that many of those served turkey and dressing to would likely go without in the days and months after the holiday season. Cokley recruited fellow parishioners with the goal of giving back often and regularly. The group reached into its own pockets to fund the Valentine’s Day initiative. They also gave out pillowcases that they personalized with uplifting Biblical verses, crosses, stars and other symbols.
“We decided that we want to do things like this year-round to help other people,” said Cokley. Recipients dug into their gift bags right away and were grateful for what they found. The group of gift-givers included five-year-old Zion Price and several other children.